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A Sketch of a Shooter’s Mind

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As a nice contrast to the factional finger-pointing today’s assassinations murders killings have inspired, Shannon Love predicts the shooter’s psychological profile:

The shooter’s outward and inward life has been dominated by the disconnect between his perception of his own worth in the world and his real accomplishments.

He believes himself more intelligent, more knowledgeable and more skilled than he actually is. He is incapable of accepting responsibility for the consequences of his own foolish actions. This exaggerated sense of his own worth leads him expect far greater rewards in all areas of life than he actually receives. He does not get the jobs, pay, authority, awards, social circle, romantic interest and overall social status he believes that he justly deserves.

But for the grace of god (or a fawning culture that awarded undeserved strokes), Obama would have shot at Reagan. Or Cheney.

Anyhoo, Love continues:

He will read all across the political spectrum and cherry pick ideas from every possible ideology. From each ideology, he will select only those ideas which: (1) claim this or that group has disproportionate, unjust and often secret influence or control over the world and (2) justify significantly altering the status quo to correct that group’s unjust power. In the end, his personal ideology will be a Frankenstein-like creation of unrelated ideas stitched together by the thread of his own hubris and narcissism. He will create an ideology that purports to explain why the “ordinary person”, which he sees as himself, is constantly screwed over by the world.

The more functional crazies achieve the same thing by joining the Progressive movement. Far easier to maintain one’s mind if all the blood is on the hands of capitalists.

In the end, we will find out that he turned to violence because he became enraged at his own irrelevance and anonymity. The triggering stressor will be something personal and probably relatively trivial. His targets will have been primarily ones of opportunity. (Those who stalk and attack specific individuals are always schizophrenics and/or have some personal connection to the victim.) He will have shot the congresswoman because he could reach her and not because he had any specific personal animosity toward her or her politics. She was just a convenient authority figure, a personalization of the unjust power and order of the world.

So be nice to people. Since we can’t exterminate the crazies like Stalin and Hitler did, our best option is to minimize the stressors that trigger their outbursts.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but I’m thinking of the old saw, “an armed society is a polite society.” If you think everyone might be a gun-toting lunatic, you’ll probably control your own outbursts. And that means the handful of genuine armed lunatics will just go home and sulk instead of shooting children.

My own snarks aside, go read the whole thing.

Comments

He does not get the jobs, pay, authority, awards, social circle, romantic interest and overall social status he believes that he justly deserves.

Hey, that's me!

In the end, his personal ideology will be a Frankenstein-like creation of unrelated ideas

Yep, I'm neither Democratic nor Republican so I must be a loony.